Man found guilty of first-degree murder of Huntington Beach ex-girlfriend
A jury swiftly convicted Jason Becher of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2016 death of his ex-girlfriend, Marylou Sarkissian, of Huntington Beach.
The jury also agreed with the prosecutor’s special circumstance charge against Becher of lying in wait before committing the crime. Becher, 46, of Anaheim, could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Becher’s sentencing is scheduled for June 11.
Sarkissian was found dead on Dec. 2, 2016 in her home on Litchfield Drive. The defense in the case did not dispute that Becher was responsible for her death, but public defender Irene Pai reiterated Thursday during her closing arguments that she believed the evidence supports a charge of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter instead.
The jury disagreed, coming back with a verdict in about four hours.
Sarkissian, a 50-year-old single mother of three, had filed for a restraining order against Becher that summer and installed a security system at her home the day before she died. Deputy Dist. Atty. Janine Madera said that Becher waited outside her home late that night, entering when she opened the sliding door to her master bedroom at 12:15 a.m. before strangling and beating her to death.
“All of the theories point toward first-degree murder and lying in wait,” Madera said. “The law doesn’t require that it be a perfect murder plan, or the best murder plan, or a successful murder plan. It just has to be his murder plan, and it was.”
The door opened and closed multiple times between 12:15 and 2:24 a.m., according to security records, while, Madera said, Becher was cleaning up after the crime. Pai claimed that Sarkissian was still alive for more than an hour after opening the door, before he killed her in a sudden act of rage.
But duct tape and zip ties were also found at the scene of the crime, which Madera said spoke to the defendant’s mind set when committing the crime.
Pai had argued that Becher didn’t come to kill his ex-girlfriend, but rather to retrieve money he believed she had been stealing from his illegal marijuana sales business.
“Is it a reasonable interpretation of the evidence that his plan was to go to her house and get his money back?” Pai said. “Marylou doesn’t want to show him the banking statements, because they reflect that she’s been spending his money and she wants to keep what she has. Is it a reasonable interpretation that she was stressed and anxious because she spent his money, and he was beginning to figure it out? He had to go directly to her for clarification and explanation.”
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